The Nobel Women’s Initiative and the Coady International Institute welcome 15 exceptional young feminist activists and leaders from 13 countries to the 2021 Fall Sister-to-Sister Mentorship program, working together to create a new vision for inclusive feminist peacebuilding and women’s rights advocacy.
Carla Ali Akil
Researcher at the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship
Expertise: Gender-based violence as well as sexual and reproductive health.
About: Carla is a psychology graduate from the American University of Beirut. She is an activist that believes in the power of dialogue. As such, she organizes webinars and campaigns, some of which advocate against gender-based violence and others raise awareness on sexual and reproductive health. Her ultimate aim is to introduce sex education in Lebanese schools.
In terms of research, she incorporates gender studies into her psychological research work in order to understand the psychology behind misogyny among women in Lebanon. She also works extensively on gender-based violence as well as the feminist funding narrative in the MENA region.
Carla enjoys reading philosophy, especially ethics and existentialism. She is a very curious person who likes to understand the deep roots of thoughts, feelings, and behaviour, especially from a critical feminist lens.
Catherine Charles M. Vitaliano
Programmer Officer for South Sudan Democratic Engagement, Monitoring and Observation Programme (SSuDEMOP)
Areas of Expertise: Governance and Policy Influences with special focus on women and young women.
About: Catherine is a trained lawyer and human rights defender. She is using her expertise to demonstrated how young women can participate in shaping national agenda and this evident in her role as a technical support to Civil Society Representative on Public Finance Management Oversight Committee and offer her expertise to women leaders when required. She is passionate on bridging the inter-generation gap and this is evidenced by her ability to work with women of different age bracket and social status.
As head of Programme at SSuDEMOP, her role requires interaction with different partners and working with different civil society groups and networks, representing the organization both in her capacity as an individual or representative of the organization.
One of her epic moment has been during the COVID-19 pandemic while many youth people were pessimistic, she held an optimistic view and joined efforts to Established the Citizen Taskforce on COVID-19 in South Sudan, which is a platform that brought together South Sudanese in/out of the country and foreign national living in South Sudan as a response to the eminent threat and adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
About: Cynthia Hijar is a Mexican comedian, activist and pedagogue. As a grad student at the Masters in Pedagogy at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), she created a somatic education program for women in rehab. This program was later applied in Ballet After Dark México (BADMX), a dance therapy project for sexual and domestic violence survivors.
As a comedian, she’s interested in the power of comedy as a political force. She also founded the feminist comedy collective StandUperras, which combines cabaret and stand-up comedy with a feminist perspective, and the webcomic Nacho Progre. In addition, Cynthia has been a speaker on TEDx #MéxicoCityWomen and has published opinion articles in feminist Latin American media as Volcánicas, Cimac Noticias and Before Eva.
Gohoud to Support Human Rights Defenders
Areas of Expertise: Media and Communication – Research – Training.
About: Feminist Journalist and researcher. MA in Journalism and New Media from the Jordan Media Institute (JMI). Worked in a number of media outlets in Egypt and the MENA region. A fellow of ARIJ (Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism)2021. Specialized and trainer of gender- sensitive reporting. Communication and Outreach officer in Gohoud to Support Human Rights Defenders organization.
Esther Ndihano Atosha
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Areas of expertise: Leadership and entrepreneurship.
About: Esther comes from the Eastern party of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She grew up in an environment where young people, especially women, couldn’t thrive because of stereotypes and bygones customs.
She is an aria-educated woman, so they are considered a threat to society. Women’s good identity is identified as “somebody’s wife. “Women’s leadership is defined as supervising house’ tasks; in some cultures, violence and women abuse is seen as values. This revolted her to advocate for positive change and create a better place where young people can fully express their potentials. She believes it’s impossible to talk about change or development in her country by leaving young people and women behind.
She uses social media platforms to speak out and promote her local community’s activities. She has published more the 15 articles among the theme: “a later to my daughter “awarded on international girls’ day in November 2021.
Esther is a representative of young women leaders/SK, a program that helps young women and girls gain the skills and confidence to become leaders in their communities in countries experiencing conflict and crisis.
She is also an entrepreneurial coach of Street Business School. Street Business School is on a mission to end generational poverty by empowering women as entrepreneurs. She loves to travel and explore new countries with cultural differences, fashion and cooking.
Faith Nuwehli Siakor
Motivate a Girl
Areas of expertise: Peace and Development, Leadership, Human Rights focus on Women’s Rights
About: Faith holds a Master’s degree in Public Sector Administration and a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Peace and Development Studies.
She has a record of advocating for peace, gender equality, and human rights focusing on women’s and girls’ rights. She has volunteered with the Justice and Peace Commission- Catholic Diocese of Gbarnga. In addition, she has served as Peace Volunteer in Bong County with the ECOWAS/European Union/African Union in partnership with the Justice and Peace Commission-Gbarnga, the Liberia Peacebuilding Office and other CSOs, and as Monitor with the Women Situation Room during the Liberia 2017 general elections.
For Faith Growing up in a male-dominated society with stereotypes affecting women’s self-confidence, it was a barrier to recognizing and reaching her full potential. Her experiences led her to found Motivate a Girl, a non-profit organization combating gender inequalities using innovative educational programs as a tool for empowerment of women and girls. Through MAG, she provides mentorship for girls from diverse backgrounds to enhance their self-reliance, confidence, leadership and conflict resolution skills.
Currently, Faith serves as the Executive Secretary to the Minister of Internal Affairs, Liberia. She is religious tolerance, believes in diversity, envisioned a gender-balanced world, and is truly passionate about a peaceful society free from injustices and inequalities.
Fanna Abdu Muhammad
Mobukar Consultancy Service
Areas of expertise: Child Protection and Gender Advocate
About: Fanna is an exceptionally dedicated and self-motivated humanitarian across thematic areas of Child Protection, Sexual Reproductive Health and Gender-Based Violence. She is also a Motivational Speaker and a Researcher, currently researching Managing Exit from Armed Conflict (MEAC) funded by United Nation University.
Fanna is one of the pioneers who launched the Zero Tolerance Village Alliance (ZTVA) Policy for GBV in IDP Camp in Maiduguri, Northeastern Nigeria. She believes in contextualization and localization because it simplifies identifying and responding to children with Child Protection concerns and the top needs of women and girls in Northeast Nigeria.
Fanna hosts Girls Outings with friends, colleagues and vulnerable women and girls every month to discuss Girls Matter (from different perspectives and how to address it) through one-on-one and Focused Group Discussions.
Meyling Dayana Paz Solis
Feminist Collective Subversivas
Areas of expertise: A Researcher, Child Protection and Gender Advocate.
About: Meyling is a feminist activist and defender of the human rights of Nicaraguan women; her areas of incidence are feminist political training and feminist self-care. I also work in the denunciation of male violence and the creation of historical memory narrated by women. I am currently part of the Nicaraguan feminist collectives where we work to create spaces of women for women where we can heal collectively and learn from each other. A priority part of what she does is to denounce the violence exercised by the State towards feminized bodies during the repression and state violence that we have been experiencing from the dictatorship of Daniel Ortega since the insurrection of April 2018.
At the same time, she currently works as a graphic designer focused on creating feminist visual campaigns and defending children’s rights. Currently, from the collectives where she exercises her activism, they have national coverage. In addition, they have made alliances with collectives throughout Central America; despite the dictatorship in which they live in Nicaragua, she has continued working to create bonds of support among women.
One of her favourite slogans is “You never find because you are always looking for a way not to find,” it is from a song by Daniel Vliguietti because she believes that this is what life is all about going after utopia and beyond. She loves art, watching old movies and having popcorn and coffee for breakfast.
Nur Aisyah Maullidah
Young Women Leaders (YWL) for Peace/Girl Ambassadors for Peace (GA4P)
Areas of expertise: WPS-YPS (Women, Peace, and Security – Youth, Peace, and Security) and P/CVE (Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism).
About: Currently in her third year majoring International Relations, Aisy has been actively works and involved in Women, Peace and Security – Youth, Peace and Security (WPS-YPS) based community since she was in high school. Being a woman who was born in a city that negatively stigmatized as the ‘hometown of terrorists’ reinforces her interest and curiosity in gender and security issues, she was introduced to P/CVE and learned from various programs about WPS-YPS agenda. She also actively involved in many agenda like advocacy and discussion that ensure her participation as young woman is considered in every decision making process and peacebuilding. Some of those agenda are Bilateral Meetings with UN Women, Komnas Perempuan (National Commission for Women), BNPT (National Counter-Terrorism Agency), and Ministry of Women Empowerment and Children Protection in 2018 and Beijing+25 Women, Peace, and Security – Youth, Peace, and Security (B+25 WPS-YPS) Action Coalition launch meeting in 2019.
Her experiences encouraged her interest and curiosity in wider fields related to peace and security issues. After being part of the YWL for Peace Indonesia, she developed her interest in youth empowerment issues and has been joined youth-based communities with various concerns like youth in interfaith, human rights, and international affairs. She believes that the key action for shaping sustainable peace is by eliminating inequality and everyone can be key actor, no one should be left behind. Therefore, provides safe spaces, opportunities, and supports for all without any exception is necessary.
Program officer at AFSC institution
Areas of expertise: Social media marketer and youth activist
About: In 2018, Ruba joined the Palestine Youth Forum (PYF), a grassroots youth group as part of Palestinian youth efforts to break with their systematic marginalization from the political and civic spheres. She employed her communication and organization skills to mobilize more youth to join the forum; she also played a major role in organizing events and training concerned with shaping youth’s political and civic trajectories.
Her knowledge in the digital world also extends to digital marketing skills; she shares this knowledge with young rural women in different Palestinian villages by teaching them how to market the products they produce from the small businesses or cooperatives they establish.
Her passion is to empower women and youth and be empowered by them; for her, feminism is not a privilege. She inherited from her parents who respect women for who they are and advocate women’s rights; rather, feminism is the everyday act of sharing that privilege with other women in Palestine, especially those who bear the brunt of Israeli settler colonialism and patriarchy. She also aspires to globalize her understanding of feminism by exchanging experiences with other feminist women worldwide.
Curiosity is the keyword for keeping learning and experiencing new things in life.
Sut Seng Htoi
Secretary General, Kachin National Youth Network
About: As a youth advocate, she conducted research on positive youth development and worked to meet the needs of youth in a positive way. She significantly led the Kachin Youth Movement, which stands for Internally Displaced People, IDPs, to free those who had been trapped in the jungle for a month in 2018. She is one of the leaders who led the Kachin State Civilian Movement, calling out against military dictatorship coups and eradicating all forms of dictatorship, including the patriarchal system in Myanmar. She also continuously advocated for women’s and youth’s rights, coordinating with Kachin Women’s Peace Network, Kachin Women’s Association, Kachin Women’s Union, and PLAN International Myanmar.
In 2021, her life was transformed into motherhood, and she was inspired on a daily basis by her little princess balancing motherhood and leadership.
Her powerful force in the workplace and uses her positive attitude and tireless energy to encourage others to work hard and become active citizens. As a result, she was honoured to receive the “Citizen of Burma Award” in 2019 and other awards from her own community’s organization.
Wenwue Tayea Kollie
Young Liberian Women Organization for Improvement
Areas of expertise: Sexual Reproductive health and rights, Gender based violence as well as Female Genital Mutilation
About: Wenwue holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics. For over four years, she has been involved in women’s rights advocacy, sexual and reproductive health rights, and women’s and youth empowerment.
Wenwue believes that women have been left behind over the past years and must now be given the opportunity to save space to be empowering by knowing their rights. She uses her skills, experience and expertise to help other women to be empowering through entrepreneurship, skill training, etc., by working with local NGOs in Liberian’s urban and rural areas.
Wenwue loves to read and is curious about exploring new things and meeting new people from different cultures, backgrounds, and food.
Yakaka Abba Kaka Yerima
Areas of expertise: Gender based violence program design and implementation, gender equality activist.
Kurdish Women PodcastAreas of expertise: Women’s rights, minority rights, storytelling, journalism and photographyAbout: Zozan Yasar is a Kurdish journalist, photographer, storyteller, and Human Rights Activist concentrating on women and minority rights and Middle Eastern politics. She has a BA in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Istanbul in Turkey. She is the co-founder of the Kurdish Women Podcast, which aims to promote transnational feminism and provide a safe and protective space to foster interconnectivity and solidarity between women worldwide.
Her social and political interests have led her to work with various organizations and initiatives such as Voice of America in the Middle East, Witness Change Project, and other Kurdish media outlets.
Zozan’s numerous publications can be found in the Guardian, Vice News, and Humanitarian Practice Network. Her recent work covers an illustrated book documenting “The Long Walk with Little Amal”, a project bringing attention to the plight of millions of refugees and displaced children worldwide.